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Stronger protection for unique natural and cultural values of Torres Strait

The unique natural and cultural values of the Torres Strait have been given more full protection with the recent launch of a new strategy.

The Land and Sea Management Strategy for Torres Strait 2016-2036 provides a guiding framework for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal peoples to use and benefit from their land, sea and cultural resources in ways that protect them for future generations.

The strategy was developed through a partnership between by the Torres Strait Regional Authority and Gur A Baradharaw Kod Torres Strait Sea and Land Council (GBK).

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The Torres Strait marine environment is of national and international significance. Studies have shown that the Torres Strait has the largest continuous seagrass meadow in the world, which has been identified as healthy, abundant and diverse. The seagrass meadows support the world’s largest dugong population and green turtle populations. Here, rangers rescue a female green turtle at Maizub Kaur. Credit: Tristan Simpson.

 

GBK chair Ned David said the collaboration involved in producing the strategy cements its significance to the natural and cultural health of the Torres Strait.

“This is a powerful document that is the product of teams of people working passionately to protect the Torres Strait," he said.

“This is our land and our seas and our culture – we want to speak for them in a measured, meaningful way that will ensure we can benefit from them in the long term."

Traditional owners worked with scientists, government, community members, funding agencies and staff from TSRA and GBK to produce the strategy. It includes an environment report card for the Torres Strait, as well as profiles of the 17 inhabited islands in the Torres Strait. The groundwork involved in producing the strategy will provide ongoing information to support local level planning and environmental management activities.

Work to deliver priority initiatives identified in the strategy is due to commence soon. 

The strategy, island profiles and other information about the Torres Strait region are available at www.tsra.gov.au

Top image: Tons of marine debris washes onto beaches in the Torres Strait each year, including onto this uninhabited island where Indigenous rangers are conducting a clean up. Credit: Matt Dunn